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NIGHTMARE... Outsourcing for cheap iPhone development (Forums : Development Banter : NIGHTMARE... Outsourcing for cheap iPhone development) Locked
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WhatItTakesGame
WhatItTakesGame What It Takes
Sep 29 2012, 7:53pm Anchor

Hi guys,

For the last 7 months we've been developing a social word and number game, called 'What it Takes', using developers based in India. I'm not going to lie, the experience has been pretty horrendous.

However, despite the less than smooth experience (we've had to be extremely resourceful), we're only about a month away from releasing into the AppStore (we're fairly certain that any disgraceful workmanship has been improved / fixed / removed).

Anyway, the complexity of the game is similar to 'Words With Friends' or 'Scramble With Friends', and despite giving the development company an extremely detailed requirements document before agreeing contractual terms, they have consistently been unable to deliver, and as a result, the project is over 4 months late.

We're also releasing the game early without 4 milestones worth of functionality(!) so realistically, the project is actually about a year behind.

Have any of you guys had experiences (good or bad) with outsourcing for cheap devs? I'm interested to hear your opinions and experiences.
Similarly, if there is anyone thinking about outsourcing for cheap devs, i'd be happy to impart some of my wisdom gained by dealing with these morons for 7 months, who certainly don't have What it Takes.

Ryan

Edited by: WhatItTakesGame

SinKing
SinKing bumps me thread
Sep 29 2012, 9:32pm Anchor

There are many Jacks of all Trades, Masters of none in the software business. Even my least talented friends have a copy of Photoshop or Final Cut and could consider themselves film-makers or artists. Yet, I would never think about paying them or letting them do any work I know I can do better. It may have taken a few years of schooling and cost me considerable nerve and effort, but what you are complaining about can never happen to me. Because I have hard skills and a network of professional and semi-professional people on sites such as Moddb.

1st rule of modding: if you want something done LEARN how to do it yourself
2nd rule of modding: don't rip people off by paying them piss-poor wages (or none at all) AND THEN complaining about their work
3rd rule of modding: do love what you are doing and fuck money when you can afford to

Conclusion: pay good for good work or learn to do it yourself. Love what you do.

Edited by: SinKing

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User Posted Image

Sep 30 2012, 7:15am Anchor

Comes down to the country you're outsourcing from.
My biggest advice, do NOT outsource from developers working in the following countries:
India
Mexico
China

The main reason is that they tend to have incredibly poor QA standards and even worse communication skills (its a nightmare because you're basically stuck trying to translate things, and not everything translates correctly into English), this comes from first person experience having dealt with developers from each of these countries. This often leads to situations where projects become delayed due to either miscommunication or major issues suddenly poping up on your end that were ignored on the outsourced end- due to their countries having much lower product standards than those in the first world. There's a reason they offer their work so cheap, and majority of workers are mainly employed because their employers are exploiting them- so avoid as much as possible if you can. This comes from my experience having dealt with them in IOS and Java Mobile games and nearly all the experiences I've had have been extremely poor (and multiple times we argued it probably would've been cheaper and more accurate to have done the work ourselves or hire someone locally to do it in the end).

If you can, try to deal with outsourced labour from Australia, Japan, USA, Canada, UK and Europe as not only are their standards very high, they're right now very competitively priced due to the current economic climate (they're really desperate for work) and should be fairly fluent in English (Europe is probably the only place you'd have issues here). Definitely shop around, don't settle for necessarily the cheapest because you'll find its usually going to cost MORE in the end due to mistakes. Get it done right the first time and as quickly as you can, that's where paying that little bit extra can help- and always do your research into where these companies are located, the reason I say this is because certain countries have stricter labour and standards laws, others have no laws.. keep this in mind because it can come back to bite you really bad. I can definitely say that in my career, Australia and the USA were probably the fastest and most accurate when it came to outsourcing (I am Australian and was employed also by an outsourcing porting house). We were constantly praised for how fast, accurate and competitively priced we were. That said, now that the dollar is USD1:1AU its kinda wrecked things a bit. I say the USA was good only because we were dealing with Microsoft lol, their mobile QA is really impressive.. shame their OS QA isn't.

Be really careful with outsourcing.

SinKing wrote:2nd rule of game development: don't rip people off by paying them piss-poor wages (or none at all) AND THEN complaining about their work

Fixed.. Based on a true story.

Also I'll point out that Apple's QA standards are actually lower than mine, I failed a build that passed the AppStore process, unless you've done something majorly stupid like changed the UI standards apple uses or made a misleading app or made an app that crashes every 2 seconds then it should pass the process no problems. They let all kinds of crap on the Appstore- so its not something to be too concerned about.

Edited by: formerlyknownasMrCP

Sep 30 2012, 2:01pm Anchor

Everybody outsources more then they think/say: by hiring someone, you're outsourcing from yourself. By buying stock sounds/footage/etc. you're outsourcing. By using another's web server/forum/etc. you're outsourcing. Country doesn't matter... most of the equipment we're all using was built in a country that you'd say don't buy/outsource from. You must always be vigilant and make sure you're getting what you expect. The cost normally doesn't tell the quality, it's how long they've been around and their reputation.

SinKing wrote:what you are complaining about can never happen to me. Because I have hard skills and a network of professional and semi-professional people on sites such as Moddb

It can happen to anyone. Doesn't matter who you know, what you do, or who you are. People are people and people screw up or intentionally do things that aren't in your favor.

If you're outsourcing who should you go to to get great results? Most likely the biggest company that has their name on everything. The "little guy" is normally the one who will disappoint. Some times they do good but there's a reason they're the little guy & not an international company.

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Doom 3 Paintball to the Max!

Oct 1 2012, 12:41am Anchor
Someone wrote:Everybody outsources more then they think/say: by hiring someone, you're outsourcing from yourself. By buying stock sounds/footage/etc. you're outsourcing. By using another's web server/forum/etc. you're outsourcing. Country doesn't matter... most of the equipment we're all using was built in a country that you'd say don't buy/outsource from

I'm referring to Programming, Art Asset, Porting and QA Testing mostly- for equipment that's a different ball game entirely since nearly everything is made in China regardless (and lets face it, they're only strength is in their ability to replicate designs mass production, but if you get them involved in the design process it can be a disaster.) Basically the point I was making, if you outsource, make sure its at least ethical.. I got really sick of those countries pulling unethical stuff on the projects, nearly every time we'd make a mistake it'd push development time and costs further.. point I'm making countries like those I mention use their low dollar to make them appear "Cheaper", in the case of China they take it to extremes were their employees are paid extremely little to do the work, this pretty much means nearly all of the attention goes to them because they are and probably always will be the cheapest in the world... BUT the point I'm making is that they're usually the worst for quality. In video games, you want a balance between quality and cost, make too many mistakes with outsourcing and it'll cost even more than it should have.

Someone wrote:The cost normally doesn't tell the quality, it's how long they've been around and their reputation.

This is a bit of a problem too because the GFC wiped a lot of those companies out, they've had to start again from scratch. Right now its very difficult to gauge their reputations.

Best thing to do if you're outsourcing is try to get someone local, at least then that way they can come into your studio and actually participate in the team even if they work for another studio. It solves a lot of communication issues with outsourcing. We had a company we worked with very closely in this regard and the relationship was far far far better than those we'd looked outside of Australia for.

Edited by: formerlyknownasMrCP

WhatItTakesGame
WhatItTakesGame What It Takes
Nov 11 2012, 3:29pm Anchor

Thanks for all your suggestions and contributions to the thread. I've learned a lot from the whole process, and i'm still undecided whether i'd consider outsourcing to India again. I guess it'll all depend on how much money i'll have available in the future. I'd prefer not to have to, but if i have another tight budget, then i guess that'll be the only affordable option.

Anyway, the project is finished and we're just awaiting approval from the App Store.

The project has cost us around $13,000 in total (including graphics, development, sounds, video), which is incredible really, considering the complexity of the project.

Our teaser trailer for 'What it Takes' can be seen here: Youtube.com

Have a watch and see what you think. We're extremely proud of the game, and for $13,000 (and a ridiculous amount of effort) we think that it was certainly worth the money!

Of course, if you're into word and number games, give our Facebook page a 'Like' (Facebook.com news about the game and it's release date - it should only be a week now! The game is free, so everyone's a winner!

Thanks guys ,

Ryan

Oh, BTW.

The app was rejected the first time of submission...

We had to allow people to play the Single Player mode of the game without having to create an account, as the information collected when creating an account is only needed when playing Online Mode.

A simple link on the account creation screen to Single Player Mode corrected this.

Nov 11 2012, 8:33pm Anchor

Did you make this thread on tigsource? I'm having deja vu

13000 doesn't seem like a huge bargain. I've done more complex work than that for less money. Albeit it was a student project. That said if I was hurting for money i'd do it again. I gotta eat :)

WhatItTakesGame
WhatItTakesGame What It Takes
Nov 12 2012, 4:10pm Anchor

Hi Shinobi,

Yes, you're correct, i did make the same thread on tigsource - just trying to generate some good discussion and ideas (the more places it's in, the more people can see it).

Anyway, for someone with no experience in anything to do with gaming (graphics, sounds, video, dev), i was extremely satisfied with the price i paid. What was the project you completed for cheaper? Was it based solely on internships?

Nov 12 2012, 6:31pm Anchor

It wasnt an internship but it was a contract that was only available to students because of the funding.

One difference is I had to make the game engine from scratch and write a large portion of the design as well as program the game. I think my total cost was around 6000-7000$ the artist was around 4000$. I guess it was a special case. I suppose if it was a realworld job I would have charged about double. I did make and actually exceed all the milestones though. I managed to implement a lot of the features that were initially considered unfeasible. I did my best to make it easy on the client. I showed one build a week and let them give me their feedback. Ultimately I only took an hour of their time or less a week unless they wanted to talk more.

I guess for your deal one of the best things about it is that it's a package deal. You dont have to do all the legwork to find all the separate parts to make the game. That said do you really think it was worth the aggravation? You did mention it cost you a lot of extra effort and time. Those are both valuable assets.

Edited by: ShinobiNFC

Nov 16 2012, 10:51pm Anchor

Hi,
I'm not sure about the game-engine part...

IF you had checked the Unity3D forums or PolyCount, that artwork would cost less than US$2,000. In fact, you could get 3 or 4 quotes of the same.

The game-engine part, assuming that person brought all the libraries and such, you could make a concept in a week and finish it in 3 months.
But this is professional and it *does* not take 7 months.

Internally here, we have huge complexity - MMO level which is by design very complex and we get a full level out in 3 weeks, fully rigged models in 1 week, 2D menus (similar to your game, but multi-player, server-based).

If you still have problems, take your game to the PolyCount or Unity3D or UDK forums for critique.

(Just friendly advice)

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